It always amazes me how quickly my toddler Jacob can go from happy and laughing to a full-blown meltdown in a matter of nano seconds.
Some days it feels like Jacob will never stop crying, and I never know if it’s going to be a good or bad day for him so learning some tricks on how to manage a difficult toddler has been helpful for me so here are 10 tips for parenting difficult toddlers.
- Tell your kids what they can do
This is for all those times your toddler says I don’t want to. When you are trying to tell them something that won’t work, consider instead telling them what they can do. This will create a completely different experience for your child.
- Pick your battles
You have to decide when to pick your battles as a parent. Some of these are non-negotiable situations such as wearing your seatbelt or not throwing food at the restaurant. However, you won’t win every battle, and you will stress yourself out trying to! Rather than forcing them to match their clothes while they’re crying and having a meltdown, settle for dressing for the weather outside instead.
- Set time limits
Have you ever gone to the park with your kids and told them, one more ride on the slide and then we’re going home? If you were to give my kids this speech, they would save the slide for as long as humanly possible. Instead of using an action, use a time limit and stick to it.
- Make logical and practical consequences for bad actions
The consequences of your toddler’s actions should directly tie to the activity they are doing. Natural consequences will have a significant impact on your child and stick with them longer. For example, if you hit your sibling while playing, you must sit in timeout. If you misuse scissors or another object, they are taken away.
- Sometimes you have to just wait it out
Saying calm down or stop usually will have just the opposite effect on your toddler. Sometimes the best thing you can do is hold them and wait for them to calm down.
- Be specific and teach them why the rules matter
You don’t need to tell them a novel about why they shouldn’t hit their sister, but you need to say to them why the rules you have in place. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point.
- Be prepared
If you are about to enter a situation in which you continuously run into the same issues with your toddler, start coming prepared! If they are fussy and won’t sit still at the store, then consider having them walk next to you instead of in the trolley. Bring snacks and toys if you have to keep them entertained. Be prepared for anything!
- Be consistent
If you set a rule, it’s your job to make sure you stay consistent. If hitting their sibling results in a time out, you need to give them a time out every time. Doing it sometimes isn’t going to be enough to make them change their bad behaviour.
- Correct bad behavior when you see it
If your toddler is throwing food at the table, take a deep breath, then correct the behaviour. Tell them food stays on the plate when we are eating. Do this as soon as it happens, and refer to consequences if need be.
- Remember that this phase won’t last forever
Before you know it, your toddler will be all grown up and heading off to college. While they may make you want to pull your hair out, they won’t be like this forever. Keep this in mind when you are considering yelling or parenting your kids to help keep you sane!
Whoever said parenting was easy, never had a toddler! I’m not going to promise that these tips will transform your parenting forever, but they will help make dealing with a problematic toddler way easier.